How To Buy a Château on a Budget

How To Buy a Château on a Budget 1

Have you always dreamed of buying a chateau in France? Many people will have at some point!

You’ll be surprised to find out that you can purchase this type of property even if you’re on a budget. And if you’d like to earn an income from your chateau by turning it into a business-generating property, it can be a wise investment, too.

That doesn’t make the process of buying a French chateau easy, though. Purchasing and renovating this type of property, especially if you’re a non-resident, can be complex.

Luckily, there are buyer’s agents and other real estate professionals who can help you through the process.

How To Buy a Château on a Budget 2

What To Consider When Buying a Chateau in France

From how much you’re able to spend to where you want to live and if tourists frequent the area,  here are the top considerations when buying a chateau in France.

Your Budget

Knowing your budget before you start your search for a French chateau will narrow down your options and allow you to focus on the areas and homes that are plausible for you. Aside from the purchase price, your home-buying budget should also include factors like:

  • Legal fees
  • Notary fees
  • Renovation costs
  • Stamp duty

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to put a deposit down on the home when you sign the initial contract, called the Compromis de Vente. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you’ll need to put a deposit down for that as well.

Even though it’s exciting to find a home that you love, don’t let the idea of a perfect chateau tempt you to go over budget.

As you’ll see, the purchase price and add-on fees are only part of your monetary considerations. Renovations and ongoing maintenance cost a lot when you own a chateau, so if you overspend during the purchase stage, you may not have enough later on when you need it.

Purchase Price

French chateaux have widely varying prices that are based on the property’s condition, size, and location. A French chateau may cost just a few hundred thousand euros, or it could cost as much as millions of euros.

While many of the chateaux we list are over 1 or 2 million euros, we also have a selection that’s under 800,000 euros. You can use our search page to set your maximum budget and filter by property type.

Properties in need of improvement are often priced lower than turnkey properties. With many beautiful chateaux on the market in need of renovation, you could find one that fits your budget if you’re willing to handle the work yourself or hire your own contractors after purchasing the property.


It’s important that you don’t underestimate the cost of renovations. A notably low purchase price can be offset by high renovation costs, and you should consider that when figuring out your budget.

As beautiful as French chateaux are, many of them have been neglected over the years and need a considerable amount of work in order to be livable — which is why you can find them for such a bargain. The condition of the property and the scope of work will determine how much renovations will cost.

Make sure to work with a team of experts who can give you realistic quotes so you can decide if the renovations are affordable. You may need to talk to architects, builders, electricians, engineers, plumbers, roofers, and more to understand the extent of the work that’s needed.

Ongoing Costs

Even once renovations are complete, maintaining a French chateau can come with a high price tag. This is why your one-time budget for purchasing the property isn’t the only budget you need to work out. Make sure you can handle the ongoing bills that are required when you own a chateau.

In addition to utility bills, which can be high since chateaux are so large, other ongoing costs of owning a chateau include cleaning, landscaping, painting, and repairing damage. Pests and weather, for example, can wreak havoc on any home, but when you own a chateau, the damage can be on a grander scale — which means it will cost more to fix, too.

To get an idea of what ongoing costs may be, a medium-sized chateau could cost around 20,000 euros per year in maintenance, while a larger chateau could cost around 80,000 or more euros per year. If you hire permanent staff, like a handyman and gardener, costs will be higher.


By searching for a chateau in an area of France with reduced property prices, you can pay much less for your home than you might elsewhere.

This doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding some of France’s most coveted areas, either. For example, in the past, market fluctuations have made homes in sought-after places like Cannes and Paris much more affordable than usual. Taking advantage of a great deal is key if you want to buy a chateau on a budget.

Consider looking for a French chateau in Marseille, Montpellier, and Provence, which have a lot of older properties and lower prices. If you’re savvy about the location you choose, you could find a sprawling chateau that costs less than a petite apartment in Paris.

Buying a French Chateau

Long-Term Goals

As you look for property, consider your long-term goals, particularly if you plan to turn the property into an income-generating business. When you purchase a French chateau in an area that gets a lot of tourism, you can use your home to create an income stream part of the year or year-round.

For example, you could purchase a chateaux that you intend to turn into a restaurant and hotel or a bed and breakfast. You may also want to purchase a chateau in a popular tourist area and rent it to large groups throughout the year.

Having a business plan may also help you get a mortgage. In general, the return on investment (ROI) for a chateau is low, which makes it riskier for a lender. However, showing that you plan to create an income-generating business could make your debt-to-income ratio more favorable in the eyes of the lender.

Ideally, you’ll find a chateau within your budget that’s in a tourist-rich part of France that doesn’t yet have a lot of accommodation. For example, buyers with a commercial goal should consider the Lot, as there is a distinct lack of quality small hotels there. With such high demand in an area like this, your chateau-turned-tourist-business could be especially lucrative.

Working with a buyer’s agent who specialises in French chateaux means you’ll have access to the best deals on the market. Your agent will also provide expert guidance about location, income-generating properties, renovations, and ongoing costs.

HOMEHUNTS property agents are able to select French chateaux based on your budget and specific search criteria. Search our site to browse our selection of luxury homes. You can also speak directly to one of our consultants by calling +33 (0)970 44 66 43.

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